I’ve written before about United Airlines ConnectionSaver, United’s technology which holds flights for connecting passengers without jeopardizing on-time arrival or onward connections for others. Winter storms recently put United’s program to the test and the result was 2,100 connections saved in just one day.
What Is United ConnectionSaver?
With advanced technology comes the ability to adjust operations on the fly in light of predictive forecasting. As United describes its ConnectionSaver technology, which debuted in 2019:
ConnectionSaver is powered by new technology that automatically identifies departing flights that can be held for connecting customers, while ensuring those who have already boarded the aircraft arrive at their destination on time. ConnectionSaver also sends personalized text messages to every connecting customer (who has opted in to receive notifications) with clear directions to the gate for their connecting flight and information about how long the walk will take.
United’s ConnectionSaver technology automatically scans flights for customers who are making tight connections to determine if the connecting flight can be held without inconveniencing other customers. The ConnectionSaver tool takes into account factors such as the time it will take for late connecting customers to travel gate-to-gate as well as the impact the hold may have on other flights and customers.
The point is simple: if United can hold flight without jeopardizing others, it will do so. Upon arrival in connecting hub, it will also send you “walking directions” that includes expected travel time between the two gates and a map of the airport. At United’s busiest hubs like Denver International Airport or Chicago O’Hare International Airport this can be very helpful.
How United Airlines ConnectionSaver Saved 2,100 Connections In One Day
During COVID-19, with schedules reduced and United only offering one flight per day between many city pairs, ConnectionSaver has become even more important.
When winter storms blanketed much of the United States with ice and snow last week, United used the technology to save over 2,100 connections:
Winter weather can sometimes make tight connections even tighter ! 🌨 🛬🏃🏼♀️🛫🌨One day this week United held flights for more than 2,100 customers thanks to our ConnectionSaver technology. This is what “Innovating for our Customers” looks like 👇 pic.twitter.com/TIgLRukCWQ
— Linda Jojo (@ljojo) February 13, 2021
Linda Jojo is United’s Executive Vice President, Technology & Chief Digital Office.
I’ve noticed that schedules are a lot more padded these days…not that flight times are longer than before, but that schedules have not been reduced to account for far less congestion at U.S. airports. The result is that nearly every flight I take arrives at the gate 20-30 minutes early, sometimes even more. That padding is certainly conducive to Connection Saver.
For all the downsides to modern technology, smartly predicting when to hold flights is a wonderful upside to it. Kudos to United for implementing this technology and saving so many passengers unnecessary longer connections or overnights.
> Read More:
- United ConnectionSaver Tool Has Serious Potential
- United Airlines Expands ConnectionSaver To More Hubs
(H/T: View from the Wing)